What it is: Diamond dust is the material leftover from cutting diamonds. Its hardness makes it desired for a wide variety of uses.
Where it comes from: Originally found and mined in India, now almost half of all natural diamonds are mined in central and southern Africa. Synthetic diamonds are used in about 90% of the world’s industrial applications.
Properties: Diamonds are a transparent crystal made of carbon, with atoms arranged in a diamond lattice. Diamond dust can be coarse or fine, and can come in different colors. Industrial diamonds are valued for their hardness and heat conductivity, whereas gem-grade diamonds are valued also for their color and clarity.
What it’s good for: Diamonds are the hardest known natural minerals, making them useful as an abrasive in cutting, drilling, grinding and polishing. In the nail industry, files coated with diamond dust stay sharp and last a long time, and some polishes and nail treatments have diamond dust to resist chipping, to strengthen the nail, or for their shimmer effects. Beauty products ranging from creams to perfumes list it as an ingredient.
Where you’ll find it: Nail files, polishes, strengtheners, creams, perfumes, body washes, makeup, and for industrial uses such as on cutting materials or as polishes.
Other uses: On a tour, Madonna used a mixture of white eye shadow and diamond dust on her eyelids.